Getting a grip on the jargon and acronyms associated with affiliates (and related disciplines such as advertising, search, social media, ecommerce and general online marketing) can be overwhelming. Here are some definitions that should ease the pain.
A/B Testing: The practice of showing a user one version (A) or another (B) and tracking the behavior based on which version the user saw. The (A) version is usually the existing design and (B) is the challenger, with one copy or design element changed.
Abandonment: When a user leaves a shopping cart with an item in it prior to completing the transaction.
Above the Fold: Portion of a webpage – normally the top part – that is visible once a page has loaded. The term comes from the newspaper industry and refers to the area of the front page that is visible when the newspaper is folded in half.
Ad Copywriting: The writing of text specifically for a paid campaign ad. Good ad copywriting can have a positive effect on the click through rate of an ad.
Advertiser (also Merchant or Retailer): Any website that markets and sells goods or services. In affiliate marketing programs, an advertiser’s contract with affiliates to get consumers to register for services, purchase products, fill out forms or visit websites.
AdSense: An advertising program run by Google enabling website owners to display text and image advertisements. Revenue is generated on a pay-per-click basis. Google uses its search technology to serve ads based on website content and users’ geographical location.
AdWords: Google’s text-based advertising system. It is a cost-per-click (CPC) advertising and publishers pay only when users click on their ad. It has cost control features that can set daily budget and limits.
Ad Inventory: The number of page views a site has available for advertising.
Affiliate: A website owner that earns a commission for referring clicks, leads or sales to a merchant.
Affiliate Agreement: Terms between a merchant and an affiliate that govern their relationship.
Affiliate Fraud: Bogus activity generated by an affiliate in an attempt to generate illegitimate, unearned revenue.
Affiliate Information Page: A page or pages on a website that explains the details of an affiliate program.
Affiliate Link: A piece of code residing in a graphic image or piece of text that is placed on an affiliate’s webpage, notifying the merchant that an affiliate should be credited for the customer or visitor sent to their website.
Affiliate Manager: The manager responsible for overseeing the marketing of a merchant’s program including forecasts and budgets, as well as and communicating with affiliates regularly, establishing incentives and monitoring industry news and trends.
Affiliate Management Agency (also Outsource Affiliate Agency): An agency that manages programs on behalf of a merchant for a nominal fee or performance percentage. It handles the recruitment, activation and management of new affiliates, provides creative and runs promotions.
Affiliate Marketing: An agreement between two sites in which the affiliate agrees to feature content or an ad designed to drive traffic to another site. In return, the affiliate earns a commission for referring clicks, leads or sales to a merchant.
Affiliate Network: An intermediary between an affiliate and merchant. For merchants, it offers tracking technology, reporting tools, payment processing and access to affiliates. For affiliates, it offers one-click application to merchants, reporting tools and payment aggregation.
Affiliate Program (also Associate, Partner, Referral or Revenue Sharing Program): A plan where a merchant pays a commission to an affiliate for generating clicks, leads or sales from a graphic or text link located on the affiliate’s site.
Affiliate Program Directory: A list of affiliate programs that features information such as the commission rate, number of affiliates and affiliate solution provider.
Affiliate Recruiting: The act of seeking and enrolling a person, company or organization to become a partner in sales for a program.
Affiliate Software: Software that enables merchants to start an in-house affiliate program without joining a network.
Affiliate Solution Provider: A company that provides the network, software and services needed to create and track an affiliate program.
Algorithm: A set of mathematical equations or rules that a search engine uses to rank the content contained within its index in response to a particular search query.
Analytics: Technology that helps to analyze the performance of a website or online marketing campaign.
Application Service Provider (ASP): An online network that is accessible through the Internet instead of through the installation of software. It is quickly integrated with other websites and the services are easily implemented and scalable.
Arbitrage: A practice through which Web publishers – second tier search engines, directories and vertical search engines – engage in the buying and reselling of Web traffic.
Associate: A synonym for affiliate.
Auto-Approve: An affiliate application approval process where all applicants are automatically approved for an affiliate program.
Auto-Responder: An email feature that automatically sends an email message to anyone who sends it a message.
Backlinks (Also Inbound Links): All the links that point at a particular webpage.
Banner Ad: An electronic ad in the form of a graphical image that is available in many sizes and resides on a webpage. Banner ad space is sold to advertisers to earn revenue for the website.
Banner Exchange: A network where participating sites display banner ads in exchange for credits to display banner ads on other sites in the network. The amount of credits earned is a factor of how many banners are displayed on a site and the exchange rate.
Banner Farm: A webpage, usually on a free Web host site, that consists of pay-per-view banner ads or banners linked to affiliate programs. It is considered to be a practice that affiliates should avoid.
Behavioral Targeting: The practice of targeting and serving ads to groups of users who exhibit similarities in their location, gender or age, and how they act and react in their online environment.
Benchmark Report: A report used to mark where a website falls on a search engine’s results page for a list of keywords. Subsequent search engine position reports are compared to that.
Bid: The maximum amount of money that an advertiser is willing to pay each time a searcher clicks on an ad. Bid prices can vary widely depending on competition from other advertisers and keyword popularity.
Bid Management Software: Software that manages PPC campaigns automatically, called either rules based (with triggering rules or conditions set by the advertiser) or intelligent software (enacting real-time adjustments based on tracked conversions and competitor actions).
Blog: An online chronological journal that can be updated regularly. By utilizing easy-to-use software, users with little or no technical background can maintain a blog.
Blogosphere or Blogsphere: The current state of all information available on blogs and/or the subculture of those who create and use blogs.
Brand Name Bidding Policy: The bidding policies that merchants have to display to ensure transparency for affiliates.
Cache: An area of storage space on a computer that temporarily stores webpages that a user has visited on a computer.
Cache and Cookie Washer: A program that clean browser tracks, including cache, cookies, history, mail trash, drop-down address bar, auto-complete forms and downloaded program files. It completely wipes out data for total privacy protection.
Cascading Style Sheets (CSS): A style sheet language that describes the presentation of a document written in a markup language. CSS enables moving the text for ranking a page to the top of the HTML file, which is the reason for using CSS from an SEO perspective.
Charge Back: An incomplete sales transaction (for example: merchandise is purchased and then returned) that results in an affiliate commission deduction.
Click & Bye: The process in which an affiliate loses a visitor to a merchant’s site once they click on a merchant’s banner or text link.
Click Bot: A program generally used to artificially click on paid listings within the engines in order to artificially inflate click amounts.
Click Fraud: The deceitful practice of posing as pay-per-click traffic for the purpose of generating false revenue by the affiliates serving the ads. In PPC advertising terms, it generates a charge per click without having actual interest in the target of the ad’s link.
Click Through (also Click): When a user clicks on a link or advertisement and is taken to the destination of that link.
Click Through Rate (CTR): The number of clicks an ad receives, divided by the total number of times that ad is displayed or served (represented as: total clicks / total impressions = CTR). For example, if an ad has 100 impressions and 3 clicks, the CTR is 3 percent.
Client: A software program that is used to contact and obtain data from a server software program on another computer. Each client program is designed to work with one or more specific kinds of server programs and each server requires a specific kind of client.
Cloaking: A deceptive process that sends search engine spiders to alternative pages that are not seen by the end user. Search engines record content for a URL that is different from what the visitor sees in order to obtain more favorable search positions.
Cobranding: A website or page to which affiliates send visitors that includes their own logo and branding.
Collaborative Commerce Networks: An organization of merchants and websites that work together as business partners. Merchants give their affiliates the same support that manufacturers give to their resellers.
Commercide: When an ecommerce site has performance or transaction problems such as slow-loading pages or malfunctioning shopping carts. Users abandon the site and never come back.
Commission (Also Referral Fee, Finder’s Fee, Bounty): The income an affiliate receives for generating a sale, lead or click through to a merchant’s website.
Commission Rate: The rate of income an affiliate receives for generating a sale, lead or click through to a merchant’s website.
Compensation Rate: The rate at which an affiliate receives money in exchange for goods or services. It is how affiliates are paid and should be stated in the affiliate contract.
Content Management System: A document centric collaborative application for managing documents and other content. A CMS is often a Web application and often it is used as a method of managing websites and Web content.
Context Centric: Refers to a product or service offer that is placed next to relevant content on an affiliate’s site or that is closely matched to the interests of those who visit the website.
Contextual Advertising: The term applied to ads appearing on websites or other media where the ads are selected and served by automated systems based on the content displayed by the user.
Contextual Link: The integration of affiliate links with related text.
Contextual Merchandising: The act of placing targeted products near relevant content.
Contextual Search: A search that analyzes the page being viewed by a user and gives a list of related search results.
Convert (or Converting): A visitor who takes a desired action such as a sale or registration.
Conversion Rate: The number of visitors who convert after clicking through on an ad, divided by the total number of click throughs to a site for that ad. (Expressed as: total click throughs that convert / total click throughs for that ad = conversion rate.)
Conversion Reporting: A measurement for tracking conversions and lead generation from search engines queries. It identifies the originating search engine, keywords, specific landing pages entered and the related conversion for each.
Cookie: Small file stored on a visitor’s computer that records information. For affiliate programs, cookies have two functions: to keep track of what a customer purchases and to track which affiliate was responsible for generating the sale and is owed a commission.
Copyright: The right granted by law to the author or originator of certain literary, artistic and musical productions that allows the author, or those to whom the author grants a license, to control the use of the product for a period of time.
Cost Per Acquisition (CPA): The cost metric for each time a qualifying action, such as sales and registrations, takes place.
Cost Per Action (CPA): The cost metric for each time a commissionable action takes place.
Cost Per Click (CPC): The cost metric for each click to an advertising link.
Cost Per Lead (CPL): The cost an advertiser pays per qualified lead.
Cost Per Order (CPO): The cost metric for each time an order is transacted.
Cost Per Sale (CPS): The term for advertising in which the advertiser pays only for those clicks where the user clicks through on the banner or ad and actually purchases a product on the advertiser’s site.
Cost Per Thousand (CPM): The cost metric for one thousand banner advertising impressions. The amount paid per impression is calculated by dividing the CPM by 1,000. For example, a $10 CPM equals $.01 per impression.
Coupon: A popular form of online sales promotion. The consumer is usually offered an amount or percentage off of the next purchase upon presentation of the coupon.
Coupon Affiliate: An affiliate whose business model substantially consists of making coupons available.
Crawler (also Spider, Robot or Bot): Component of a search engine that gathers listings by automatically trolling the Web and following links to webpages. It makes copies of the webpages found and stores them in the search engine’s index.
Cross Promotion: A way to attract more customers with less by joining forces with people who reach the same target market. Cross promotions can include bundled offerings, collaboratively produced resources, co-branding offers, coop advertising and shared space.
Custom Feed: Enables submission to XML feeds for each of the shopping engines. The engines have different product categories and feed requirements.
Customer Acquisition Cost: The cost associated with acquiring a new customer via the Web or any other medium.
Customer Bounty: The merchant payment to an affiliate partner for every new customer that they direct to a merchant.
Cybersquatting: When a person buys a domain that is the trademark or near trademark of some other company.
DHTML: An extended set of HTML tags that add interactive features to a webpage without sending additional requests to the server. W3C is in the process of creating the official DHTML specification.
Day After Recall Test (DART): A research method that is used to assess an ad’s effectiveness by testing how well consumers remember the ad the day after they see it.
Dayparting: The ability to specify different times of day – or day of week – for ad displays, as a way to target searchers more specifically. An option that limits the serving of specified ads based on day and time factors.
Data Feed: A text file that contains the information needed to generate a website. It is provided either directly to the affiliate or indirectly through a network. The affiliate then converts the data feed into a database, which is then used to populate webpages full of products.
Dead Link: An Internet link that does not lead to a page or site, most likely because the page no longer exists or the server is down.
Deep Linking: Linking to content buried deep within a website.
Delisting: When webpages are removed from a search engine’s index.
Demographics: The term that refers to specific information about a population or a target market. Demographics include information such as age, sex, geographic location, and size of the group.
Destination URL: The specific location within a site where the user who has clicked on the ad should be directed. The Destination URL does not have to match the Display URL but should be in the same domain.
Digital Cash: Electronic money used on the Internet. Digital cash can be traditional credit cards or digital bank accounts. All digital cash transactions are encrypted for security.
Directories: A type of search engine where listings are gathered via human efforts rather than by automated crawling of the Web.
Display URL: The URL that is showed to visitors on PPC ads in Google AdWords and other paid search engines. It appears below the ad text and should be no longer than 35 characters and is often the same URL as the site’s homepage.
Distribution Network: A network of websites or search engines and their partner sites on which paid ads can be distributed. The network receives advertisements from the host search engine, paid for with a CPC or CPM model.
Domain Name: Controlled by the worldwide organization called ICANN, domain names are obtained on a first come basis and are used to identify a unique website.
Doorway Page (Also Gateway Page): A webpage created expressly in the hopes of ranking well for a term in a search engine’s non-paid listing. It does not deliver much information but is designed to entice visitors to enter.
Dynamic Content: Information of webpages which changes, or is changed automatically
Dynamic Text: Text, keyword or ad copy that customizes search ads returned to a searcher by using parameters to insert the desired text somewhere in the title or ad. When the search query matches the defined parameter, then the associated term (hybrid) is plugged into the ad.
Email Link: An affiliate link to a merchant site in an email newsletter, signature or a dedicated email blast.
Email List (Also Opt-in List): A list of the email addresses of customers who have asked to be contacted by email.
Email Marketing: The promotion of products or services via electronic mail.
Email Signature (Also Sig File): The signature option allows for a brief message to be imbedded at the end of every email that a person sends.
Embedded Commerce: A type of service provider that allows content websites to build online stores. Some service providers offer ecommerce services in which the customer places an order right on the content website.
Earnings Per Hundred Clicks (EPC): Earnings or average pay out per hundred clicks.
Earning per Thousand Impressions (EPM): Earnings or the average pay out per thousand impressions.
Eighty Twenty Rule: A rule of thumb that dictates that typically eighty percent of the products sold in a product category will be consumed by twenty percent of the customers.
Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT): The transfer of money from one account to another by computer.
Electronic Software Distribution (ESD): A system for selling products, such as software over a network or the Internet. ESD systems provide secure ways for customers to download and purchase software.
Escalating Commission (Also Sliding Scale): A compensation system based on an increase in the money paid to an affiliate. It is a percentage commission that increases based on the achievement of certain targets, such as specific number of copies sold.
Feeds: A Web document that is a shortened or updated version of a webpage created for syndication. Usually served at user request, through subscription; also includes ad feeds to shopping engines and paid-inclusion ad models. Ad feeds are usually in Extensible Markup Language (XML) or Rich Site Summary format.
Freemium: A business mode that offers basic services for free, or is ad supported, but charges a premium for advanced or special features. The model is popular with Web 2.0 companies that acquire companies through referral networks, organic search marketing and word of mouth.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): A document that answers the most common questions on a particular subject.
Fluid Dynamics Search Engine (FDSE): An easy-to-install search engine for local and remote sites that returns fast, accurate results from a template-driven architecture. Freeware and shareware versions are available.
Frames: An HTML technique that allows two or more pages to display in one browser window. Many search engines had trouble indexing websites that used frames, generally only seeing the contents of a single frame.
Gateway Page (Also Doorway Page): A webpage created in hopes of ranking well for a term in a search engine’s non-paid listings.
Geographical Targeting: The analytical process of making decisions on the regions and locales on which a company should focus its marketing efforts.
Geotargeting: The method of targeting audiences geographically. Search marketers specify where ads should be placed, not just which keywords trigger the ads.
Geographical Segmentation: The ability to determine from which geographical area Web traffic is coming.
Graphical Search Inventory: Banners and other advertising units that can be synchronized to search keywords.
Hidden Text: The deceptive processing of filling webpages with keywords that are not visible to visitors but can be indexed by search engines to help achieve higher rankings.
Hit: Request from a Web server for a graphic or other element to be displayed on a webpage. Sometimes a misleading term as hit is not the same as a visitor.
HTML: The code used to build webpages – affiliates use it to put links on their websites. Affiliate solution providers often provide a tool where affiliates can simply copy the code for an affiliate link and paste it into their own HTML pages.
Hybrid Model: An affiliate commission model that combines payment options (i.e., CPC & CPA).
Hypertext: Refers to text on a computer page that will lead the user to other related information via a link.
Impression: An advertising metric that indicates how many times an advertising banner, link or product on the Internet is viewed.
Inbound Link: A link to a particular page from elsewhere on the Internet. Inbound links are important to SEO because many search engines’ rankings are at least partially based on the amount of inbound links.
Index: The database of webpages maintained by a search engine or directory.
Indy, Indies: A merchant with an in-house affiliate program or is independent (no network).
In-house: An alternative to using an affiliate solution provider; it builds an affiliate program architecture within a company.
Interactive Agency: An agency offering a mix of Web design and development, Internet advertising and online marketing, or e-business/e-commerce consulting.
Internet Protocol (IP) Address: A unique combination of numbers assigned to individual electronic devices or networks that communicate over the Internet.
Interstitial Ad: An advertisement that loads between two content pages.
Instant Page Creator (IPC): A data feed tool that allows non-programmers to build custom, dynamic product pages and sites very quickly, sometimes in less than a minute.
Key Performance Indicators (KPI): Metrics that are used to quantify objectives that reflect the strategic performance of your online marketing campaigns. They provide business and marketing intelligence to assess a measurable objective and the direction in which that objective is headed.
Keyword: The word (or words) a searcher enters into a search engine’s search box. Also the term that the marketer hopes users will search on to find a particular page.
Keyword Buys: The act of bidding on specific search terms related to a specific industry.
Keyword Density: The number of repetitions of a keyword as a percentage of the total word count of a webpage. For example, if a webpage has 200 total words on it and 20 of them are keyword advertising, then the keyword advertising has a 10% keyword density on the page.
Keyword Domain Name: The use of keywords as part of the URL to a website. Positioning is improved on some search engines when keywords are reinforced in the URL.
Keyword Effectiveness Index (KEI): The KEI compares the number of searches for a keyword with the number of search results to pinpoint which keywords are most effective for your campaign.
Keyword Marketing: The method of getting a message in front of people who are searching through the use of particular words or terms.
Keyword Phrase: Refers to two or more keywords combined to form a search query.
Keyword Popularity: A measure of the most frequent words and phrases used in Web searches. Marketers can use keyword popularity to determine which keywords bring large numbers of potential customers to a website. Keywords are stored in the META tags or text of a webpage.
Keywords Tag: META tag used to help define the primary keywords of a webpage.
Landing Page: The specific webpage a visitor reaches after clicking on a search engine listing, pay-per-click ad or banner ad.
Lead: Someone who has expressed an interest in a marketer’s product or service.
Lead Generation: Websites that generate leads for products or services offered by another company. On a lead generation site, the visitor completes a contact form to get more information about a product or service. The submitted contact form is considered a lead.
Lifetime Value of a Customer: The amount of sales in dollars that a customer will spend with a particular company over their lifetime.
Link Bait: A useful, entertaining, creative Web content or Web tool that encourages website owners to link to it.
Link Exchange: When a webmaster puts a hyperlink on their website to another company’s website and they reciprocate by placing a link to your website on theirs. The most effective exchanges are to websites that are ranked higher than the others and complement the content.
Link Popularity: The number of websites that link to a particular site. On most search engines link popularity along with the quality of incoming links are important aspects of determining the ranking of a website on search engine results pages.
Linking Code: A unique identifying code often contained in HTML tags. Affiliates add the linking code to their sites so that searches for a product generated from the affiliate site are automatically credited to an account in the affiliate program so the affiliate gets credit for sales.
Linkspam: A company attempts to place as many inbound links as possible to their site regardless of the context of the originating site.
Listing: The information that appears on a search engine’s results page in response to a search.
Log File: A file maintained on a server in which details of all file accesses are stored. With log file analysis tools, it is possible to find out where visitors are coming from, how often they return, and how they navigate through a website.
Loyalty Affiliates: Affiliates who offer incentives to their members with cashback or other benefits and rewards to shop through their website. Often they own cashback shopping websites.
Manual Approval: An affiliate application approval process where all applicants are manually approved for an affiliate program.
Merchant Account: An account with a payment processor for settlement of credit card transactions. Any merchant that takes credit card orders must establish a merchant account.
Meta Tag: A way to describe various aspects of a webpage that is not intended for users to see. Meta tags pass information to Web crawlers and spiders along with browsers and other applications.
Mini-site: A prefabricated HTML page for affiliates that displays new or specialized products with integrated affiliate links.
Minimum Bid: The least amount that an advertiser can bid for a keyword or keyword phrase and still be active on the search ad network. This amount can range from $0.01 to $0.50 or more for highly competitive keywords, and is set by the search engines.
Multilevel Marketing (Also Two-Tier Marketing): Affiliate program structure whereby affiliates earn commissions on their conversions as well as conversions of webmasters they refer to the program.
Nanopublishing: An online publishing model that uses a small-scale, inexpensive operation to reach a targeted audience, especially through blogging. Sometimes communities of shared interest emerge quickly online, such as PaidContent.com and Gawker.com.
Niche Sites: A website oriented towards a very specific topic or audience. Niche sites often have high traffic and items can bring higher prices than on general purpose sites because they serve customers looking for unique content.
Opt In: To subscribe to an e-mail newsletter or ezine.
Opt-in Email: Email information that the recipient explicitly requests such as a newsletter or ezine.
Optimization: Changes made to a webpage specifically to improve the positioning of the page on search engines.
Organic Search Results: Non-paid search engine results (also called natural search) – the pages that search engines finds in a vast index of the Web the search engine determines are the best matches for the search keywords.
Outbound Link: A link on a webpage leading to other webpages both on the same website and other websites.
Page Rank:An indicator of the value of a webpage that is used for ranking in search engine results and is governed by a proprietary formula by search engines. It is based on factors include the number and quality of links to a website and the content of the website itself.
Page View: The term for the loading and screen presentation of a single webpage.
Paid Inclusion: An advertising program where pages are guaranteed to be included in search engine’s index in exchange for payment.
Paid Listings: Listings that search engines sell to advertisers usually through paid placement or paid inclusion.
Paid Placement: Advertising program where listings are guaranteed to appear with high rankings in response to a particular search term. This is achieved by paying more than other advertisers. This is most often done in an auction or bidding environment.
Paid Search: Paid search often referred to as pay per click (PPC) is a strategy used by a large number of affiliates.
Parasite: Software that works on a person’s computer, typically without their knowledge or consent and without a visible interface. It can include software that is installed along with another application.
ParasiteWare: Technology (including, but not restricted to, browser helpers, browser plug-ins, toolbars and pop ups/sliders) that knowingly or unknowingly undermines or removes another affiliate’s ability to compete by changing, intercepting or redirecting an affiliate link.
Pay Per Call: A model of paid advertising similar to PPC, except advertisers pay for every phone call that comes to them from a search ad, rather than for every click-through to their website landing page for the ad.
Pay Per Click (PPC): A program where an affiliate receives receive a commission for each click they refer to a merchant’s website. PPC offers some of the lowest commissions and high conversion ratio since visitors need to only click on a link to earn the affiliate a commission.
PPC Search Engine: Search engine results that are ranked according to the bid – advertisers are charged when a searcher clicks on the search listing. Advertisers supply the listing and provide the keywords that apply and the bid. The first listing is the one with the highest bid for that keyword.
Pay Per Impression (PPI): An advertising pricing model in which advertisers pay based on how many users were served their ads.
Pay Per Lead (PPL): A program where an affiliate receives a commission for each lead that they generate for a merchant website such as completed surveys, contest or sweepstakes entries. Pay per lead generally offers midrange commissions and mid-range to high conversion ratios.
Pay Per Sale (PPS): A program where an affiliate receives a commission for each sale of a product or service that they refer to a merchant’s website. Pay-per-sale programs usually offer the highest commissions and the lowest conversion ratio.
Payment Threshold: The minimum accumulated commission an affiliate must earn to trigger payment from an affiliate program.
Performance Pricing Model: An advertising model in which advertisers pay based on a set of agreed upon performance criteria, such as a percentage of online revenues or delivery of new sales leads.
Podcasting: A form of audio broadcasting using the Internet. Podcasting, which does not require the use of an Apple iPod, involves making one or more audio files available as “enclosures” in an RSS feed, and can be played back by the subscriber at their convenience on an MP3 device.
Pop-Up Ad: An ad that displays in a new browser window, which is generally a scaled-down browser window.
Pop-Under Ad: An ad that displays in a new browser window behind the current browser window. Pop-under ads remain behind the current browser window and appear only after other windows are closed.
Portal: A website that typically includes a catalog of websites, a search engine, or both. A portal site may also offer email and other service to entice people to use that site as their main “point of entry” to the Web.
Postroll: A form of online video ad placement where the advertisement is played after the content video plays.
Product Showcase Directory: Databases that generate various displays – they can be “dynamic”. It is able to customize the visual aspects of each display based on the user selections by using a complex set of logic that computes in microseconds.
Query: The word (or words) a searcher enters into a search engine’s search box.
Quality Score: Reflects an ad’s historical CTR, keyword relevance, landing page relevance and other factors proprietary to Google. Yahoo! refers to it as a Quality Index.
Rank: How high a particular webpage or website is listed in a search engine’s results.
Raw Data Feed: Raw data is information that has been collected but not formatted, analyzed or processed. This raw data can be used to build an optimized XML feed.
Really Simple Syndication (RSS) Feed: A data format for syndicating news and other content. Subscribers to RSS feeds are notified every time content is updated on a particular site.
RSS Aggregator (Also RSS Reader or News Reader): A client software that uses Web feeds to retrieve syndicated Web content such as blogs, podcasts, vlogs, or in the case of a search aggregator, a customized set of search results.
Reciprocal Link: A link exchange – the process when two websites’ owners agree to display a link to each others’ sites.
Referral Fees: Fees paid by advertisers for delivering a qualified sales lead or purchase inquiry.
Referral Link: A place from which the user clicked to get to the current page.
Residual Earnings: A program that pays affiliates not just for the first sale, but all additional sales made at the merchant’s site over the life of the customer.
Return on Advertising Spending (ROAS): The amount of revenue generated for every dollar spent on advertising. A ROAS of $1 means $1 of sales is generated for every $1 spend in advertising.
Return Visits: The average number of times a user returns to a site over a specific time period.
Revenue-Sharing Program: A program that allows merchants and website owners to increase sales. The host site links to the merchant site with a banner, button, or text link for a fee. The merchant pays the website owner for increased traffic, sales and leads from the host site.
Return on Investment (ROI): The amount of money that an investment makes.
Rich Media: Web content that includes full-motion video, audio, or games. Some popular formats that are commonly considered rich media include Macromedia Flash and Shockwave.
Run of Network (RON): Scheduling of Internet advertising whereby an ad network positions ads across the sites it represents at its discretion, according to available inventory. The advertiser usually forgoes premium positioning in exchange for more advertising weight at a lower CPM.
Run of Site (ROS): The scheduling of Internet advertising whereby ads run across an entire site, often at a lower cost to the advertiser than the purchase of specific site sub-sections.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM): Tactics that Seek to promote websites by increasing their visibility in search engine results. SEM methods include SEO, paid placement and paid inclusion. It includes the practice of buying paid search listings with the goal of obtaining better free search listings.
Search Engine Positioning (SEP): How well a particular webpage or website is listed in a search engine’s results. Positions one to ten are the most visible and the most desirable.
Search Engine Results Page (SERP): The page the search engines returns to after a visitor entered a search query.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO): The practice of altering a website so that it does well in the organic, crawler-based listings of search engines. The process usually involves choosing targeted and relevant keywords and phrases that will drive traffic to the site.
Search Funnel: The process of doing several searches before reaching a buying decision, which works from broad, general keyword search terms to narrower, specific keywords. Advertisers use the search funnel to anticipate customer intent and develop keywords targeted to different stages.
Secure Server: A Web server that uses a secure layer for data encryption that allows for private e-commerce transactions. The SSL encryption protects consumers’ private information such as name, phone, e-mail, and credit card number.
Server: A computer, or a software package, that provides a specific kind of service to client software running on other computers.
Shopping Cart: The term for software that is used to make a site’s product catalog available for online ordering, whereby visitors may select, view, add, delete and purchase merchandise.
Site Map: A webpage with a diagram that shows the entire contents of a website.
Skyscraper: An online ad that is significantly taller than the 120×240 pixel vertical banner. The height of a standard skyscraper ad is 600 pixels.
Social Network: Online network of communities who share interests and activities or who are interested in exploring the interests and activities of others.
Spam (or Spamming): The electronic junk mail or junk newsgroup postings generally email advertising for some product sent to a mailing list or newsgroup.
Spamdexing: Also called search engine spamming. It combines techniques employed by some Web marketers and designers to fool a search engine’s spider and indexing programs to ensure that their website always appears at or near the top of the list of search engine results.
Spider: A software program that crawls the Internet by following links and indexing webpages.
Sponsored Listing (Also Paid Listings or Paid Sponsors): A term used as a title or column head on search engine results pages to identify paid advertisers and distinguish between paid and organic listings.
Spyware: Generally refers to deceitful software that is secretly installed on a user’s computer and that monitors use of the computer in some way without the users’ knowledge or consent. Most spyware tries to get the user to view advertising and/or particular webpages.
Storefront: A prefabricated HTML page for affiliates that displays new or specialized products with integrated affiliate links.
Submission: The act of submitting a website to search engines and search directories. For some search engines, this is performed simply by typing in the absolute home page URL of the website you wish to submit.
Super Affiliates: The best affiliates in a program based on performance and earnings, usually the top 1 percent, who generate the majority of revenue for a program.
Targeted Marketing: The act of making the right offers to the right customer at the right time.
Text Link: A link that is not accompanied by a graphical image.
Text Link Exchange: A network of reciprocal links in which participating websites display ads in exchange for credits that are turned into ads to appear on other sites.
Tier Levels: Merchants offer incentives to affiliates to drive more business to them over competitors by tempting them with increased commission if you drive a certain number of sales or leads to them. Tier levels are custom built for individual affiliates based on business strategy.
Tracking Method: The way a program tracks referred sales, leads or clicks. The most common is by unique Web address for each affiliate or by embedding an affiliate ID number into the link that is processed by the merchant’s software.
Trademark Poaching: The act of using PPC ads to appear as though they have come from a merchant (using its trademark). When clicked on, the ad directs the consumer to the trademark owner’s site through a link that inserted the affiliate ID, generating a bogus commission for any resulting purchase.
Trusted Feed (Also Paid Inclusion): A trusted feed is a fee-based custom crawl service offered by some search engines. These results appear in the “organic search results” of the engine. Typically, the fee is based on a “cost per click,” depending on the category of site content.
Viral Marketing: The rapid adoption of a product or passing on of an offer to friends and family through word-of-mouth (or word-of-email) networks. Any advertising that propagates itself the way viruses do.
Visitor Segmentation: Differentiating of users to site by categories such as age, sex, etc.
Visit: Measurement that has been filtered for robotic activity of one or more text and/or graphics downloads from a site without 30 consecutive minutes of inactivity and which can be reasonably attributed to a single browser for a single session.
Web 2.0: Also referred to as the Semantic Web. In this iteration, sites, links, media, and databases are “smarter” and able to automatically convey more meaning than those of today.
Widget: A small application designed to reside on a PC desktop or within a Web-based portal or social network site offering useful or entertaining functionality to the end user.
Wiki: Software that allows people to contribute knowledge on a particular topic. A Wiki is another Web publishing platform that makes use of technologies similar to blogs and also allows for collaboration with multiple people.
XML (Extensible Markup Language): Its primary purpose is to facilitate the sharing of structured data across different information systems. It is used both to encode documents and to serialize data.
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